At the beginning of the month I posted the following entry, in response to something someone asked in the comments section:
I rant and rave about how parents screw up their kids all of the time. I want to post on the good things that parents do, but I want for it to be a collaborative effort. So give me some input, people! It can be in the form of an anecdote, things you appreciate about your own parents, things you’ve done as a parent yourself, things you admire in other parents, anything. (from Calling All Cars, Calling All Cars!!!)
The response I got was absolutely underwhelming, to put it mildly. Which implies that every single one of my readers have/had, are, and know only terrible parents. What sad lives you all must lead.
So I’ll do this one alone, as I do pretty much everything in my life.
Actually take the time to build your child’s sense of self-worth from within. Spend time with them, praise them for their unique gifts and differences, give them a solid foundation of knowing that they are loved unconditionally and you’ve got their back.
And, most crucially, that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of them. . . including you. It only matters what they think of themselves. (from But It’s So Much Easier To Just Blame Someone Else!)
My parents shouted at me from time to time, but only for specific infractions. I was never made to feel that there was anything wrong or bad about who and what I was, inherently. Quite the opposite. I was encouraged to be proud of myself, of my unique qualities, of the things that made me different and special.
When I was a nanny, if my girls misbehaved I always made a very clear distinction to them that it was the action that was “bad,” and not them. In fact my proudest ‘parenting’ moment was when my first little girl recounted to me that her dad had called her bad (not maliciously or abusively, of course) and she had told him in reply, “No! My ~ says I’m not bad.” I think she was all of three or four. It may not have created the best father-daughter dynamic in the moment, but it made me proud to know that not only had I communicated that to her, I had made her feel it so truly and strongly that she had thrown it straight into her dad’s face. She wasn’t trying to sass or be a brat, she simply knew fundamentally that what he was saying was wrong, and she believed it passionately enough that she told him so unequivocally.
She’ll enter middle school next Fall, and I hope that courage of conviction sticks with her. I like to think that if you can stand up and contradict your father that vehemently as a toddler, you can handle peer pressure and adult influence as a tween.
I had a long conversation with the mother of my other little girl last week about parenting tweens and teens. About helping them to have the skills to make decisions about sex and drugs and influence etc. We spoke of how prospective parents think about having a baby (when they do think). They think about the state of their relationship with their mate, financial security, care and feeding and changing diapers and how hard all of that will be.
Let me tell you, pfft. That stuff is cake. I mean, it’s hard, but wait until your little one isn’t so little and they’re out in the world making decisions for themselves and you’re debating whether they have the skills to navigate the situations they will inevitably find themselves in and the pressures of their peers and the world at large. It’s horrifying to contemplate!
Unfortunately, it’s all part of growing up as a parent. (from Regarding King George VI)
I guess it’s a parent’s prerogative to make their children miserable in the pursuit of, y’know, saving their immortal souls. . .
If I had to choose between ascending to the Kingdom of God without my kids, or telling the man upstairs, “Fuck off, if the next five months really are going to be Apocalyptic then you better believe I want to be here to make Hell on Earth as bearable for my kids as possible. . .”
How is that even a choice. . .? (from Talk About Bad Parenting. . . )
Then, of course, we can’t leave out the fact that I question everything and everyone around me and “what if” the world in which I live ad infinitum. This started as a child. My parents may have been driven insane by my relentless queries, but they always encouraged me to make them. (from It’s Only Paranoia If They Aren’t Out To Get You)
I like to give my parents credit for raising me to have such confidence and sense of self. They certainly encouraged me in it, and didn’t try to squelch me, even when I must have driven them bonkers. ;) They gave me a solid foundation, they encouraged me to investigate the world around me on my own terms, and to question everyone and everything I encountered. There was never any attitude of, “This person is an adult – or a teacher or a police officer or a doctor – so what they say is right, and you cannot contradict them.” They taught me respect, but they taught me to look at everyone for who they were, whether it was my best friend or my eighth grade principal, and evaluate them all with the same yardstick. And they always backed me 110%. I think that was a really important component, knowing my parents would take my word over my teachers’ (or pretty much anyone’s), and go to bat for me when necessary. (from Thinking Over)
Moral of the story: I’m actually pretty good at this.
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